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Lots to Cover: Your "Get Smart" Guesses, Your Website Ad Advice, "P.O.V." and Thoughts on George Carlin and Tom Brokaw
June 24, 2008  | By David Bianculli
First things first. I'm absolutely blown away by the thoughtfulness, support and incredibly high caliber of writing in your emails to me about my website advertising dilemma. Anyone reading your comments to yesterday's blog should be convinced, beyond any doubt, what a smart and discerning bunch of people are visiting this website. You may have convinced me to rethink my position -- give me a few days to digest it all -- but boy, if I ever seek out ads and a advertising director, rest assured your comments will be Exhibit A in any sales pitch.

So thanks, truly. If this website is going to succeed, it'll be a slow build, and I can't tell you how honored I am to have you here with me at the beginning. You're a classy, smart bunch, and your compliments and trust should keep me going for quite a while.



Now to Get Smart. I learned, with Sex & the City, that the first reported weekend grosses often are readjusted -- so when initial reports gave Get Smart first place for last weekend with a $39.1 million take, I decided to wait a day and see what happened. I admit to being almost giddy, however, to having predicted an opening-weekend total of $40 million.

Today's figures adjusted the total downward slightly, to $38.7 million, so my guess wasn't quite as accurate. But the guess by Jack Cheng, the first reader to post a prediction, certainly was. He went with $38.5 million, which is damned impressive. I'll contact you, Jack, to negotiate a suitably shabby prize. What'll it be? ESPN hockey puck? Blue's Clues notepad? Wild Chronicles survival kit? The Whitest Kids U'Know toilet paper?

(Oh, and the Get Smart cameo I loved? Right at the end, Patrick Warburton as Hymie the robot. For that alone, bring on the sequel!)


Meanwhile, since I predicted $55 million for Sex and the City, which earned $56.8 its opening weekend, and $40 million against the actual $38.7 for Get Smart, I hereby offer my services to any and all studios as a freelance prognosticator regarding movies made from TV shows. Please contact me quickly, before I blow it by guessing horribly wrong on next month's X-Files: I Want to Believe film.


Tonight's season opener of the PBS documentary series P.O.V. (10 p.m. ET; check local listings) is a first-time film by Katrina Browne, whose ancestors were, by her account, the largest slave trading family in U.S. history. It's a strong start for what looks to be another solid season, and two extended conversations in Browne's Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North are shakingly memorable.


In one, after traveling to Ghana ("the Ellis Island of slavery"), Browne and the nine relatives who made the trip with her sit and have a roundtable discussion with, among others, the locals whose ancestors were stolen by Brown's ancestors, the DeWolfs. ("Are you not ashamed?" they are asked -- and they are.) Back home, after the voyage, Browne and her fellow voyagers discover, as the cameras roll, that all but one of them went to college at Princeton, Harvard or Brown. Their family position of privilege, brought on by the selling of other human beings, continues.



Finally, reactions to the death of George Carlin, and to the appointment of Tom Brokaw as the interim host of NBC's Meet the Press.

Carlin has been eulogized on this website already, by Diane Werts' wonderful piece yesterday, which you can read here. All I'd like to add is that the man who was selected to host the very first episode of NBC's Saturday Night Live back in 1975 is indeed a comedy icon. He lent that show credibility -- counter-culture credibility, which was totally absent from TV in those days -- from the start, just by agreeing to appear on its premiere.


As for Brokaw stepping in as the temporary replacement after the untimely death of Tim Russert, that's a brilliant choice. I wrote about it in a report for the Broadcasting & Cable website, which you can read here -- but the gist is that by putting Brokaw in that seat until Election Day, NBC is serving the legacies of both Russert and Meet the Press proudly.









Tom said:

Reading yesterday's responses by your readers was like attending a really interesting forum in which the attendees were as eloquent as the featured speaker.
The quality level of the discussion and the progression of the subject may have been a preview of into what the news business will evolve.

I kept returning to the site to read what new comments had been posted. And I learned a lot. (So did I, Tom -- and thanks for not only contributing, but absorbing the whole thing. My reaction was identical: I kept returning to the comments and going, "Wow." Thanks to ALL of you. -- David B.)

Comment posted on June 24, 2008 10:03 AM

Toby OB said:

Your revelation of Warburton as Hymie is one of those "smack the forehead" moments for me. I can't think of anyone who could be more perfect for the role and here I had Duane Johnson in mind, thinking he would have been best.

Okay, I'm a little more heartened by the idea of this remake.....

Comment posted on June 25, 2008 4:44 AM

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